Saturday, January 18, 2014

Refinishing Hardwood Floors: Sanding with a Square Sander

We initially reserved a drum sander but when we got to the rental shop the guy kinda sized us up as being DIYers and after we told him our floors were generally in good condition he said "maybe you should go with the square sander, those drum sanders can really mess us your floor if you haven't used them before." The terrified look on his face told us what we needed to know, we should go with the square sander. So we loaded her up along with:
  • 5 sheets of 80 grit sandpaper(13 x 9 inches)
  • 5 sheets of 100 grit sand paper (13 x 9 inches)
  • Sanding Pad
  •  Should have also gotten:
  • 5 sheets of 60 grit - I had to go back for these

Final Cost: 24 hour rental + Sandpaper + Pad = $81

Here Micheal is putting on the weights that come with it. We used all the weights which likely made it a little easier to manage albeit heavy!

Here is Kali inspecting the materials

First you put your sheet of sand paper on the floor and then place your sanding pad (the white thing in these pictures) on top of the sand paper. Then gently place the sander down on top of the sanding pad - make sure to get it nice and lined up!

The sander has little velcro like nubs on the bottom which are what grab onto your sanding pad. Then, take a deep breath, brace yourself, and squeeze the little handles to turn it on. This gives you an idea of what the intensity of ours was:

It didn't jump away from us like the buffer sanders they show on TV but it did take some muscle to keep it going in the desired direction. As you can see you don't need to go with the grain, this is because the sander constantly oscillates in different directions similar to a hand sander so it does not mar your wood.

We were able to get pretty close to the walls with it which is an advantage of the square sander over it's round or drum cousins.

Then start going systematically through your area, you'll see a difference pretty quickly.

It's important to vacuum and wipe down occasionally as you go because with the dust on top it'll look like you've gotten all the poly. However, there are likely areas that are uneven that may have been missed.

You can go over these areas again or you might need to sand them by hand - just make sure you get ALL the poly off!!

We went over the entire room with a 60 grit (used three pieces of sand paper) and then went over it again with 80. We opted not to go over it again with 100, although in hindsight we would have done one pass with the 100 grit sand paper. You do want to change your sand paper out occasionally as the grit will start to wear down.

This is what it looked like when it was done!!

Before and after of the closet

As you can see, we were able to make some pretty significant improvements in the wood. Lastly, wipe down your floor with a wet rag as this will highlight any possible imperfections, scratches or whirl marks possibly left by your sander that you can touch up by hand.

1 comment:

Bridget said...

you guys are so brave to take on this project! I love your before and afters!